Hiram Reads!

Where Hiram College Talks About Books

Hiram Reads! header image 1

Persepolis reviewed by Brittany Jackson, Class of 2004

November 1st, 2010 · Biography, Graphic Novel, Non-fiction

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood and Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return are a series of graphic novels by Marjane Satrapi. Satrapi does an excellent job capturing her life growing up in Iran in these pages.

[Read more →]

VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

→ No CommentsTags:

Mockingjay and The Hunger Games Trilogy reviewed by Cari Dubiel, Class of 2003

October 14th, 2010 · Dystopian, Fiction, Young Adult

Harry Potter and Bella Swan have made young adult literature hot again. Over the past decade, many books for this age group have attempted to replicate those series’ success. With film versions on the horizon, and the ultimate book, Mockingjay, topping the bestseller lists, the Hunger Games trilogy may be close.

[Read more →]

VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

→ 3 CommentsTags:

The Things They Carried reviewed by Camilla Grigsby, Class of 2000

October 8th, 2010 · Fiction, Historical Fiction, Memoir, Non-fiction

Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried is frequently hailed as a 20th century masterpiece, but it is difficult to nail the book down to a single genre. Is it one of the best novels of the 20th century? One of the best short story collections? In the book, O’Brien weaves stories of fiction and reality, based on some of his own experiences as a soldier in the Vietnam War. Incorporating, among other things, elements of magical realism and stream-of-consciousness writing in a series of 22 related vignettes — not really chapters, but not really short stories, either — O’Brien’s finished product is a compelling, emotional, and often brutal story about young soldiers attempting to survive in and make sense of the harsh, surreal landscape of Vietnam. Throughout the book he skips back and forth throughout time, reflecting on life pre-War, and the roads many of his subjects followed upon returning home.

[Read more →]

VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

→ No CommentsTags:

Obedience reviewed by Jeff Swenson, Assistant Professor of English

September 26th, 2010 · Fiction, Thrillers

As an English professor, I’ll admit I have a fascination with novels about college. Life in the academy is wonderful, but it’s rarely racy or uproariously funny, so I find often perverse pleasure in the depiction of that life as sultry, funny, or dangerous. In Kingsley Amis’ Lucky Jim, I reveled in the discomfort of an untenured lecturer at a stodgy English college who struggles to keep his job in an odd world of madrigal weekends. I cringed at the depiction of Midwestern university life in Moo, where in one wonderful chapter titled “Who’s in Bed with Whom,” Jane Smiley explains a complex matrix of affairs between and among faculty and graduate students. In John Hassler’s Dean’s List, I laughed at the absurdity of Professor Leland Edwards’ struggles to maintain the academic integrity of a fourth-rate northern Minnesota college whose motto has recently been changed to “Paul Bunyan’s Alma Matter.”

[Read more →]

VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

→ 2 CommentsTags:

The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart reviewed by Elizabeth Zollinger, Assistant Professor of Mathematics

September 11th, 2010 · Fiction, Works in Translation

This is a charming coming of age story soaked with melancholy. Set in the late 19th century Europe, the narrator describes his formative years with a prosthetic heart. Teased and bullied at school for being different, the only escape for little Jack is the memory the beautiful near-sighted little singer who he has only met once. On a seemingly ordinary day, he embarks on a journey where he learns about what it means to love with a mechanical heart. On its own the book seems a little thin. There is minimal character transformation and it both begins and ends abruptly; it’s the vivid description that will keep you reading. For example the book opens on the coldest day in Edinburgh. It’s a day so frozen that even a baby’s heart can’t pump blood on its own.

[Read more →]

VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

→ No CommentsTags:

In the Fullness reviewed by Joanne Bennardo, Class of 2009

September 3rd, 2010 · Memoir, Non-fiction

In the Fullness of Time is a well-constructed anthology that harmonizes a myriad of voices. Editors Emily W. Upham and Linda Gravenson challenge thirty-two women, ages 55 to 101, to share parts of their life stories.

[Read more →]

VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

→ No CommentsTags:

Perfecting Sound Forever reviewed by Jeff Wanser, Coordinator of Government Documents/Collection Development Librarian

August 27th, 2010 · Music, Non-fiction

Have you ever wondered why music doesn’t sound the same on an mp3 player or the radio as it does live in concert or on your favorite CD or LP recording? It may not be just because you didn’t buy the high-end player or that the radio station’s signal doesn’t come through well. Greg Milner gives us an absorbing account of the history of the technology behind recording (and broadcasting) from the earliest days of Edison and his cylinders to the current use of proTools for recording and mixing the latest releases. The history he presents is complex (as all history is), but accessible to a popular audience.

[Read more →]

VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)

→ 1 CommentTags:

A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting reviewed by Melissa Maskulka, Class of 2007

August 20th, 2010 · Education, Non-fiction

Hara Estroff Marano’s A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting (2008, Broadway Books) takes a critical look at the costs of “over-parenting” one’s child. Perfect for all involved in high education including parents, students, administrators and professors, this well-researched book offers case studies and longitudinal results which provide an in-depth explanation of the negative consequences of the “helicopter parent.”

[Read more →]

VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)

→ 4 CommentsTags:

The Help reviewed by Cyndy Willis-Chun, Assistant Professor of Communication

August 13th, 2010 · Fiction, Historical Fiction

After noticing The Help on The New York Times Bestseller List for several weeks running, I saw it on the library’s new books shelf and had to pick it up. It’s an easy read, but perceptive in its look at race relations between Mississippi whites and “the help” during the 1960s. The story shifts perspective often, alternating between Aibileen and Minny, two African American maids, and Miss Skeeter, a white college graduate whose mother would prefer her to become a debutante rather than follow the journalistic track she’s chosen. After being rejected from a publishing job, Skeeter sets out to write a sociological inquiry into the state of African American maids in the South. Her initial reasons for the work are self-interested, but she and the maids she interviews come to feel a great deal of ambivalence toward the project, realizing that social isolation and physical harm will become realities if it’s published even as they desperately want their stories to be told.

[Read more →]

VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

→ No CommentsTags:

Death Without Tenure reviewed by Arlene Hilfer, Visiting Assistant Professor of English

August 6th, 2010 · Fiction, Mystery

What mysteries do English professors read when they need a break after a long teaching day? I don’t know about others, but I delve into Joanna Dobson’s academic mysteries starring Karen Pelletier, an untenured English professor at prestigious Enfield College. Raised on the wrong side of the tracks in Lowell, Massachusetts, single-mother Karen Pelletier has managed to finish degrees by working odd jobs. After receiving her Ph.D., Pelletier supports herself as an adjunct. Her scholarship on 19th century American women authors wins her an offer from the Enfield’s Department of English and Karen leaves a long-term relationship with a New York City narcotics cop to accept the offer. The protagonist’s experiences at Enfield are the basis for Dobson’s mysteries. The reader follows Karen from her entre into Enfield’s campus life in Dobson’s Quieter Than Sleep, through her years of teaching up to the year in which she is eligible for tenure in Death Without Tenure.

[Read more →]

VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

→ No CommentsTags: